LISTEN IN. IMAGINE OUR ISLAND VIEWS SHADOWED BY TRAINS AND COLUMNS.
We are not a Big City.
We are an Island State.
Our Island Views:
Manoa Valley, Honolulu Harbor and Aloha Tower among others, blocked by rail and rail stations. Noise: Listen in- do you know how noisy rail is? Small Business: Long time businesses including Scott Slippers, Art Nelson Sailmakers, Tropical Lamps and Tahiti Imports will be shut down or put out of business. This is just on Kona Street in Honolulu. Imagine the same on Dillingham Boulevard and other main thoroughfares.
Panos Prevedouros is the only candidate who will Stop the Train.
Rail is Incompatible with Hawai`i’s Brand By Gloria Garvey and Brook Gramann, Principals, The Brand Strategy Group
With the talk about Hawai`i’s tourism numbers being down, we all should be grateful that Hawai`i has the strongest geographic point-of-origin brand in the world -- for it is a strong brand that is most important to surviving an economic downturn.
We have written before that a brand is a promise that you make to your customer. The other side of that coin is the experience that your customers have of you. If they don’t match, then you are in trouble.
This true definition of a brand is especially fitting in Hawai’i’s case. Hawaii is a place the whole world knows and loves. A place of staggering beauty and extraordinary gentleness. A place that offers rest and restoration. A place of unique heritage and culture. A place of Aloha. This is what most people believe about Hawaii, and this is Hawai’i’s brand promise. And Hawaii certainly belongs to the people who love her.
Hawai`i is a place where uncommon nature has been patient with common humanity for hundreds of years. Though we have run over it with concrete,it still engages us with views of towering mountains, and the beautiful blue sea. We love the thundering silence of itstradewinds. The baking heat of its sun.
So when we who love Hawaii think about its promise, we wonder if any thought has been given to how incompatible a steel-on-steel rail line, sleek and glimmering, is with the Hawaii we love?
The scale of the rail is absolutely counterintuitive to Hawai`i’s brand. Let’s be more specific: anyone who understands Hawai`i’s brand would never undertake to build rail in the first place.
Suppose the current plans for rail succeed? You are at Electric Beach – about to enter the water and you take one last look behind you --- at the rail. Later in the day, you leave your office to walk down Bishop Street. You will no longer be able to see the Harbor, or the shops at Aloha Tower, or even Irwin Park. When you were in Chinatown last Saturday – never mind the view of the sea you used to love so much. Now it is blocked by rail. Your favorite auto shop is on Kona Street – or it was. Now it isn’t here. That huge Island Pool and Spa is gone, too, to make way for the rail. And the sailmakers next door. Even Tahiti Imports was gobbled up by eminent domain (or is it imminent domain?).
Malama Aina? The rail will rise to eight stories in front of Ala Moana Center, head down Kapiolani Boulevard and turn up University Avenue --- that’s right, right down the middle where the median with the trees used to be. It will rise up as it crosses King Street, up and up and … over the freeway! No more view of beautiful Manoa Valley.
What are we doing here? We are going to spend $5 billion dollars on a visual blight that will do very little to solve our traffic problems. Our visitors love this island for its beauty. So do we.
Rail is a 19th century technology, and places elsewhere in the world are looking to 21st century technologies. We should be, too.
We need to stop and look around before we give rail a go ahead. Stand on Electric Beach and look at the mountains. Stand on the corner of Bishop Street and look at Aloha Tower. Better yet, cross the street and look back at the historic Dillingham Transportation Building – if rail becomes a reality, you won’t see it from Irwin Park.
We have done our beautiful islands enough harm. Now, more than ever, we should be their keepers. If we love Hawai`i, if we love O’ahu, if we love Honolulu, how can we say yes to rail?